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23 Oct 2018

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Welcome back to Part Two of our blog series, ‘HR’s Role in IBP’. In this segment, we take a look at the importance of HR and where HR should get involved in the three initial steps of a typical IBP process. 


1. Product Management Review (PMR) 

In any IBP process, an organisation should first check in on its ongoing projects that will change the portfolio of products and services that It offers, as well as those in planning. On a monthly basis the PMR identifies changes to projects and the impacts of those changes on the portfolio plan; these projects require teams of people with leadership, project management and technical skills. Understanding what skills will be required when and in what quantity, and then planning for this is a key task for the HR department. 

Another purpose of the PMR is to check that the current and planned portfolio of products and services will provide sufficient value to the customers and consumers, and to the organisation. If it doesn’t, the portfolio will need to be changed. This may lead to a need for new skills, triggering a need for them to be developed or brought in via recruitment or internal transfer. 

2. Demand Review 

A thorough Demand Review comes next. In this review, the forward demand plans for the organisation’s products and services are reviewed and agreed across a 24-36 month planning horizon, with the demand for products and services driven by its demand stimulating activities, which includes sales, advertising, social media campaigns, etc. All these activities require people with the right skills.

The importance of matching people with the right skills was highlighted by an Oliver Wight client. The company added a new ‘high end’ range of products to its existing portfolio. Excited by the opportunity this new range brought to the business, the leadership team invested in millions of dollars of inventory to meet demand. Unfortunately, no one evaluated the skills required by the sales team to sell these new products. This is where its HR department could have stepped in.

The customers for the new range had different needs and expectations to the company’s existing market and the sales team was poorly equipped to sell to them. As a result, sales of the new high-end range were dismal, and the inventory purchased was eventually cleared at a loss. All because the skills of the sales force had not been matched to the requirements of the changing product portfolio. Once again, HR plays a key role in planning for the number of people and skills required to enable the demand plan to be successfully executed.


3. Supply Review 

In the Supply Review, the forward plans for supply of products and services to meet the Demand Plan are reviewed and agreed across a 24-36 month planning horizon. Key considerations for HR are available capability, capacity and people’s roles in providing them. 

For instance, in manufacturing organisations this will be production capacity, in distribution organisations the focus is typically on warehousing and shipping/transportation capacity, and in service organisations the service is often provided by a person. In all these examples ensuring the right number of people with the appropriate skills are available to enable the supply of products and services to meet the demand plan is an essential part of the IBP process. 

Look out for our next instalment of this blog series, which will focus on HR’s role in the remaining steps of an IBP process. 

This blog was taken from Oliver Wight’s latest white paper, People Watching: HR’s Role in Integrated Business Planning, which is available for free download here.

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Stuart Harman

Stuart Harman

Partner, Oliver Wight International

Stuart is based in Sydney, Australia but has spent 20 years working in key change agent roles in major manufacturing organisations around the world. Whilst gaining deep knowledge in a number of industries including metals and FMCG he has developed extensive experience in improving and linking processes across organisations and supply chains to enable the successful deployment of strategy.

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